Gambian music was on the downside for a long time. But thanks to the emergence of the ‘golden generation’, the music scene is experiencing a rebirth. At the heart of the renaissance is Nobles, an Afropop group which made its first public appearance in April 2015.
The group’s trio Aya, T. Berry and Pablo Badjan were music fanatics who launched their individual careers in their community of Nemakunku. The Nobles initially started as a larger group, but like other youthful sectors decimated by the “Backway” mania, they too saw some of their members leaving for fortress Europe through the Mediterranean.
Nobles may be riding high on the fast lane of the local music industry, but according to them, the journey was not without its own teething problems.
“We remember arriving at one ground for a show only to realize logistical nightmare. Even the sound system was not in order,” recounts T. Berry.
Faced with dwindling numbers in their ranks, steadfastness and hard work kept Nobles going. Today, the group members proudly recall the motivation they had drawn from the late Oussou Njie Senor and Kerr G family who introduced them to J-Live studio.
The Nobles’ debut appearance outside The Gambia was in Guinea Bissau at the invitation of Justice Dud seen as the king of Music arena in that entertainment frenzy country. Their performance in the West African country caught the eyes of some 60,000 people. In fact, the lads reveal that the naming of their new song as Pretty Bajuda meaning pretty girl, is inspired by their Bissau exploits.
The song is produced by a Nigerian producer called Phantom, who also produced songs for the likes of Wizkid and Burna Boy. The producer’s coming to The Gambia was facilitated by Money Empire. And having already made a name for themselves as one of the first Gambian acts to be featured on renowned showbiz channel BOOM TV, the group has set its sights on becoming one of Africa’s finest singers.
On their greatest achievement, Nobles point to the filling of Pencha Mi Hall in The Gambia at a time when that seemed to be the exclusive preserve of established stars in the league of Senegalese superstar, Wally Seck and Gambia’s kora maestro, Jaliba Kuyateh. The Nobles’ crowd pulling gig in Guinea Bissau and the subsequent release of “Pretty Bajuda” (which, within 24 hours ranked number 2 on the iTunes Top 100 Gambia chart) has given the young group the crossover potential they hope for.
As Nobles continues to develop and hone their Afropop style and sound, they credit their rise to stardom to their unique repertoire of qualities at their disposal. These come in the form of flexibility, multi-ethnic composition and a harmonious dovetailing of different local languages in their lyrics. That is unity in diversity at its best.